Leamington Spa (1862)

Sir, A few days since, the Rev. J. DENHAM SMITH, on his way from Dublin to the Isle of Wight with an afflicted relative, stopped in this town for rest. Accidentally meeting a Christian friend, he was induced to preach in the Public Hall to the cabmen of the town. Such was the impression produced by this service that Christians of all denominations united to invite him to remain among us for a few days. He consented. Meetings have been held in most of the chapels in the town, and the Public Hall at midday and in the evening during the past fortnight. To some of us, who had only heard or read of the Revivals of Ireland and America, the effects of these meetings have been amazing. The places of meeting have been thronged by all classes of persons. Some of the leading and titled aristocracy and the poorest individuals in the town have been there. Episcopalians and Dissenters have united both in prayer and in hearing the word, and the impression produced on the audience has exceeded anything ever witnessed by some of us. Persons have been smitten to the heart; have felt the heavy burden of sin; have agonized in prayer for mercy, and have found peace with God in the space of a few days or hours. At present no one can tell what will be the issue of these cases. We have conversed with many of these persons. Of some we have no doubt, believing that they are truly converted to God. Persons of the most abandoned lives, as well as those who are outwardly moral, seem alike affected. One man told the writer that he had committed every crime under heaven, save murder and theft, and yet was rejoicing in the consciousness of pardon. At one meeting, a husband was converted; next day his wife found peace. In one family it is said that three persons were converted, while in another a son was rejoicing that both his parents and three sisters had been brought to the feet of Jesus. In fact, not a single meeting was held without the power of God being felt. Mr Smith's simple, earnest, scriptural presentation of a present, perfect salvation in Christ of the death and resurrection, and identification of the pardoned sinner with his risen Saviour has softened hearts of stone.

It was suggested by some Episcopalian friends, that the last service should be a united communion meeting of all Christians. Accordingly, it was held last evening. The large chapel in Spencer-street (congregational) was thronged with communicants in the lower part of it, and spectators in the galleries. It was a most delightful sight, and one never to be forgotten. Episcopalians and Dissenters, Wesleyans of every division, Independents and Baptists, with many ministers, met around the table to commemorate the great work of their common Saviour. Mr Smith's visit will never be forgotten here.

From the 'Revival Newspaper', Volume VI, page 94.

REV. J. DENMAM SMITH. - The town of Leamington has again been visited by this eminent servant of Christ. It was here that about thirteen months ago he commenced his evangelistic tour through the country, and as though his divine Master would give him a glorious earnest, his ministrations were followed by a rich and widespread blessing. Many, through his instrumentality, were called out of darkness into God's marvellous light and others who had previously known the truth, but were ignorant of their standing before God in Jesus Christ, were brought to enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The first service of the recent series was held in Public hall on the evening of Friday 10th. Before the time announced for the commencement, the gallery platform and lobbies were all crammed, as well as the body of the hall. Mr Smith's text was taken from Exodus xxxiv. 7, "That will by no means clear the guilty." He showed how that God not being able to clear the guilty had emptied the cup of his wrath on Jesus Christ, who took the place of the sinner, and the now a free and unconditional pardon is offered to everyone who, taking the place of the guilty, trusts in Jesus his substitute and sin-bearer. Many remained to the after meeting - some who had been touched by the guickening power of the Spirit and were anxious to hear more of the sin-atoning work of the Saviour, others to testify to the joy and peace they experienced in believing; some few remained clustering around Mr Smith til a late hour, while the occasional, "Glory, honour," or Happy day,"  told of some blessing received, or of joy that would give itself expression in a hymn of praise. One young man who had been for some time exercised about the state of his soul told me with tears of joy, that every doubt, every fear was gone, since Christ had borne his every sin away.

On Sunday services were arranged to be held in the morning at Warwick-street chapel, of which the Rev D. Payne is minister, and in the evening at Spencer st chapel, which for many years has been under the pastorate of the Rev. A. Pope; in addition to these services Mr Smith kindly consented to preach in the Corn Exchange at Warwick in the afternoon, which latter arrangement was made public by bills being distributed, both in Leamington and in Warwick, in the course of the preceding day.

In the morning a congregation of some nine hundred had assembled in Warwick street chapel; the aisles as well as the vestries were filled, while those who could approach no nearer, tried to catch a sound of the preacher's voice outside on the chapel steps. The mysterious oneness of the church with the Redeemer as his body, her actual standing, perfection,
and fulness as raised in Jesus, her glorious future and dignity as the bride of the Lamb, were unfolded with that power and clearness, and with that happy and affectionate delivery which Mr Smith's friends well know; and that these truths were
received and understood, was evident in the countenances of many beaming with a happy expression, which told of joy and peace in believing.

In the afternoon a crowded congregation of between two and three thousand souls had assembled in the Warwick Corn Exchange, some of whom had walked from a distance, under an unseasonably burning sun. The address was very solemn and impressive, and calculated to arouse the unconverted to a sense of the fearful danger and responsibility of their unsaved condition; at the same time, immediate salvation was shown to be offered on simply believing in Jesus, the sinner's refuge
and perfect plea.

The evening service at Spencer-street chapel, Leamington, was a crowning season; this spacious building was crowded with a deeply interested and attentive congregation. The expounding of the Scriptures and the sermon were one simple, emphatic exhibition of Jesus Christ; Jesus loving the sinner from all eternity, passing by the nature of angels and taking upon Himself the seed of Abraham, with all its cares, sufferings and temptations, yet without sin; Jesus commending his love to the rebel worm, and entreating him to be reconciled to God. This being the last meeting, a few words of affectionate farewell were addressed to the congregation, nearly half of whom remained for the after-service. Two or three Christian brethren having engaged in prayer, Mr Smith made a last and affectionate appeal to the unsaved, and bade us once more farewell, though not forever-

"Blissful unions
Lie beyond this parting vale."

Before the final benediction was pronounced, a gentleman came forward and touchingly recounted how that, since his first visit to Leamington, Mr Smith had been the instrument, in the hands of God, of bringing his six children (of whom the writer is one) to a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus - the last having been brought in during this last series of services; as well as three of his servants, who had till then been strangers to grace and to God, so that his house had become a house
of salvation.

Thus closed a series of blessed, happy services, that are deeply graven on the hearts of many, for they have been the means of bringing down on their souls unspeakable and priceless blessings. Eternity alone will reveal how many souls were saved, how many refreshed.

"The Revival," April 30th, 1863

Additional Information

This was built in 1836 and was set in green meadows.

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